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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tortellini Salad Not Your Everday Pasta Salad

I think it's a very good possibility that I like tortellini better cold than I do hot.  Maybe that's because whenever I buy it, my mind doesn't go directly towards thinking of what kind of sauce I can use on it for a dinner creation.  My mind goes more in the direction of... what can I put with this to make a delicious salad?  Do I want a vinaigrette?   Do I want a creamy Caesar type dressing?  What kind of vegetables would be good with it?

I decided that tomatoes, broccoli and loads and loads of mint from my ever abundant mint patch in my yard with a lemon vinaigrette sounded good.  So, cook your tortellini according to package instructions.  You do not want to overcook it or let it get mushy.   It should be al dente.  And be sure to salt your water liberally.

While the tortellini are cooking, cut up your veggies.  For one pound of tortellini, I used one container of grape tomatoes, cut in quarters.

For the broccoli, I used half of one whole head.  I cut it up pretty small, using only the florets.  The stems and other half of the broccoli you can keep and use for something else.  Or hell, load it up!  It's not going to hurt anything.

And then the mint.  Now I have a huge mint patch in my yard.  But if you don't, and would rather use something like basil, by all means, go for it.  I used a lot.  And I do mean a lot!!!

After washing it and pulling the leaves off the stems, I cut it into ribbons, more commonly referred to as chiffonade.  It probably ended up being close to a cup of fresh mint after all was said and done.  Do you think that sounds overpowering?  It wasn't!

Now for the dressing.  I decided that a lemon vinaigrette would be perfect.  It's not heavy and lemon brings out the best in everything I think.  It's very simple to make too.  You need 1/4 cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice.  DO NOT listen to Sandra Lee and use that bottled stuff.  It's not the same, it's not good and just blech.  You also need 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil, 1 Tablespoon of Dijon mustard, and salt and pepper to taste.  Whisk this together and mix it with your drained and cooled tortellini and veggies.  If you want to finely chopped shallots or garlic to the dressing, that's an excellent addition.  Stir the salad gently, so as not to break up the pasta.  And if you want even more lemon, add the zest too!   Play with it, have fun with and enjoy it! 


Ang said...

Mmmm ... I love lemon. Next to coconut I think it's my favorite flavor in the world. I make a tortellini salad that's very close to this one out of my WW cookbook. It's spinach tortellini with artichoke hearts, black olives, sundried tomatos, basil and a little italian dressing. Think I'll toss out the italian and try it with the lemon next time. YUM.

Kathy said...

That sounds really good Angie! It probably would be better with the lemon, or maybe a balsamic dressing.